Mining and geological experts from Global Steel Holdings Limited have moved into the National Iron Ore Mining Company (NIOMCO) Itakpe in Kogi State to commence the due diligence, which is the first plank of the modified concession agreement recently signed by the Federal Government of Nigeria and the world renowned steel making and mining conglomerate.
The foreign expatriates were joined at the site by Nigerian geologists and other engineering staff of NIOMCO as well as officials of the Federal Ministry of Solid Minerals Development who are supervising the process.
At a meeting over the weekend, which took place at NIOMCO, the Managing Director of Global Steel Holdings Limited, Dr. Samuel Nwabuokei recalled that since the agreement was signed, a team from the Company had paid courtesy visits to the Governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Bello and the Ohinoyi of Ebira land, His Royal Majesty, Alhaji Ado Ibrahim, expressing happiness at the reception accorded the officials by the two leaders.
He lauded President Muhammadu Buhari, the Minister for Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, the Kogi State Governor and the Ohinoyi for the positive development.
While equally thanking the management and workers of NIOMCO for the excitement with which they have welcomed Global Steel and the willingness they have exhibited to work for the reactivation and eventual operation of the Company, Nwabuokei urged them to corporate fully with his team.
According to him, Nigerians will soon come to the realisation that Global Steel meant well for Nigeria as well as committed to the country’s industrialisation.
“We will work very hard. We will need your corporation, your input and your assistance in providing necessary information and skills to enable us achieve results. We will then get effective date to commence rehabilitation and then, operation,” he added.
The Director, Metalurgical Inspectorate and Raw Materials Development Depart of the Federal Ministry of Solid Minerals Development, Mr. Obienu Nat noted that the Federal government and the Ministry are highly committed to the resuscitation and effective operation of the Ajaokuta Steel Company and the Delta Steel Company, adding that Global Steel Company is expected to quickly put that process in motion by producing Iron Ore which he said is the key raw material needed for the two steel companies.
The Sole Administrator of NIOMCO, Mr. Bernard Ifechi Nnagah said both his management team and the workers were happy for the coming of Global Steel and expressed their readiness to give in their best for the success of the agreement. He stated that resuscitation and operation of NIOMCO would trigger socio-economic benefits conceived by the government for citing both Ajaokuta Steel and NIOMCO in Kogi State.
He noted that the protracted arbitration before the new agreement was of no benefit to either Nigeria or Global Steel.
Nnagah expressed happiness that all the stakeholders have now agreed to work in such a manner that both the investor and Nigerians would benefit from the resources of the land.
“The realisation of this project would lead to wealth creation, industrialisation, employment, direct foreign investment, both company and other taxes as well as other benefits. We should therefore work to cover lost years,” Nnagah said.
While speaking to journalists after the meeting, Nwabuokei revealed that Global Steel plans to produce 2.5metric tonnes of Iron Ore at the commencement of operations which would be upgraded within a short time to 2.8million metrics tonnes and later to 5million metric tonnes per annum after modernisation of the plant to sufficiently feed both Ajaokuta and Delta Steel.
Others at the meeting include the Assistant General Manager, Engineering Department (NIOMCO) Hajia Halima Kadiri and the Global Steel’s Coordinator, Engr. I. V Chandra Sekhar, top management officers of NIOMCO and Global Steel expatriates who later moved to site in different batches with their Nigerian counterparts.